Spartans Look for Happy Homecoming Saturday Against Mercer
Spartanburg, S.C. - USC Upstate returns to the hardwood Saturday afternoon at 4:30 when it plays host to Mercer on Homecoming weekend in the Hodge Center. The game marks the second between the two schools this season. Mercer holds a 5-3 lead in the all-time series, though Upstate has won three of the last four contests, including a 70-64 victory in Macon, Ga., on Jan. 5.
Upstate enters the game with a 10-9 overall record and a 6-4 mark in the A-Sun. The Spartans had their three-game winning streak, and two-game A-Sun winning streak, snapped Wednesday night with a 64-42 loss at ETSU. Mercer enters the game with a 1-18 overall record and a 1-9 mark in the A-Sun. The Bears are on a 13-game losing skid, having picked up their lone win at Belmont on Dec. 2.
Fans can follow the action live online in a variety of ways. Live audio and live stats will be available for free through the official Upstate Athletics website at www.upstatespartans.com. Live video will also be available for a fee on the web at ASun.TV.
Looking Back at ETSU
Upstate suffered a series of season lows, including shooting just 19.8 percent from the floor, and took a 64-42 loss at the hands of East Tennessee State Wednesday night in Johnson City, Tenn. The loss snapped the Spartans' three-game winning streak. Upstate scored just 15 points in the first half and trailed by 24 at halftime. The Spartans battled back to cut the deficit to 17 in the second half, but the hole was just too big too dig out of and ETSU went on for the 22-point victory. ETSU placed three players in double figures, while Upstate was led by Kelci Freds, who turned in a career-high nine points. The Spartans forced ETSU into 35 turnovers and took 81 shots, 16 more than the Buccaneers, but the near 20 percent field goal percentage and 12.5 percent three-point percentage did the Spartans in.
Mercer enters Saturday's game at Upstate with a 1-8 overall record and a 1-9 mark in the A-Sun under first-year head coach Susie Gardner. The Bears have lost 13 straight games, including a 70-64 loss to Upstate on Jan. 5 in Macon, Ga.
Mercer's lone win of the season came at Belmont, a 69-56 victory in Nashville, Tenn. Despite losing 18 games, the Bears have been more than competitive, losing eight games by 10 or less points and five games by under five points.
Mercer is a low-scoring team, averaging 57 points per game. That figure rises to 60 points per contest during A-Sun play. The Bears allow opponents to score 73 ppg, 71 during conference action.
Mercer shoots a shade under 36 percent from the field and 28 percent from the three-point arc, while hitting 64 percent of its shots from the free throw line. Opponents shoot 73 percent from the floor and 33 percent from the arc, and out-rebound the Bears by nearly 10 boards per game.
Briana Williams is the A-Sun's leading scorer at 16.8 points per game. She also tops the Bears with 38 three-pointers made and led the way with 19 points in the first meeting against Upstate. Brittnee Hazel ranks second on the team in scoring at 10.7 ppg and ranks second with 5.6 rebounds per outing. Sharmesia Smith leads the team with 7.5 rebounds per contest, while Sharnea Boykin tops the club with 110 assists.
Copney Named A-Sun Player of the Week
Tee'Ara Copney had a strong week in leading Upstate to a 3-0 record last week and has been named the A-Sun Player of the Week (Jan. 25). Copney reached double figures in all three games, averaging 18.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.7 steals per game. She scored 14 points in the win over Longwood (Jan. 19), 23 points in the win over Belmont (Jan. 22) and 19 in the win over Lipscomb (Jan. 24). Copney is the fourth different Spartan to receive weekly honors from the league since 2007 and the first this season.
Spartans Sing the Blues at ETSU
Coming off a three-game winning streak, including a pair of strong performances in wins over Belmont (Jan. 22) and Lipscomb (Jan. 26), Upstate went into Wednesday's game with ETSU (Jan. 26) on fire. However, the Spartans achieved many firsts for the season, and they were not of the positive kind. Upstate scored a season-low 42 points, eclipsing the 53 scored in the season opener at Mississippi State (Nov. 12). The Spartans shot the lowest field goal percentage (19.8%) and three-point field goal percentage (12.5%) of the season. The 15 points in the first half stand as the lowest scoring half of the year.
Freds Makes the Most of Her Opportunity
Although Upstate dropped a 64-42 decision at ETSU (Jan. 26), freshman Kelci Freds took advantage of her time on the court and established a new career high in scoring. She connected on three field goals, including a pair of three-pointers, to finish with nine points. Her old career high came with six points in the win over Longwood (Jan. 19).
Upstate's Win Over Lipscomb First Ever for Upstate on TV at Home
The win over Lipscomb (Jan. 24) in the CSS Game of the Week was not only the first-ever women's basketball game to be telecast from the Hodge Center, it was also the first time an Upstate basketball team has won on television at home. The men's team has played two games on television in the Hodge Center and has dropped both contests.
Wallace Second on All-Time Three-Point List, Eyes All-Time Mark
Junior sharpshooter Kendra Wallace not only surpassed second place on Upstate's all-time three-point record, she is eyeing the top spot. She currently has 161 career three-pointers for second place on the all-time list. The top spot is owned by Stephanie Feyes (2001-05). The Columbus, Ohio, native made 169 in her four-year career at Upstate. Wallace is just 8 away from the all-time mark.
McMillan Tops 1,000 Career Points
Senior post player Chelsea McMillan has reached career scoring milestones of 800 and 900 points this season. With a career-high 34 points at North Florida (Jan. 15), she not only reached 1,000 points, she surpassed it. She started her collegiate career at Santa Fe Community College before transferring to Upstate as a sophomore. She is the 13th person in the history of the program to achieve the mark.
Copney Tops 600 Career Points
Sophomore Tee'Ara Copney needed just eight points to reach 600 in her Upstate career entering the game against Lipscomb (Jan. 24). She earned that and more, finishing with 19 to surpass the 600-point plateau in her young career.
McMillan Tops 700 Career Rebounds
With 17 rebounds at North Florida (Jan. 15), senior Chelsea McMillan reached yet another statistical milestone, 700 in her career. She currently has 777 rebounds in her two and a half years in the program. She ranks fifth all-time at Upstate, 23 away from fourth on the all-time list. Yakeeshia Ross owns the top mark with 991 in her brilliant four-year career from 2002-06.
McMillan at the Top, Statistically Speaking
Upstate senior post player Chelsea McMillan either leads or is near the top of the A-Sun rankings in several statistical categories. She leads the conference with 11.8 rebounds per game and 2.0 blocks per outing. She ranks third in scoring at 16.1 points per game, while also ranking in the top 15 in field goal percentage, free throw percentage and blocked shots.
Upstate Among A-Sun's Statistical Leaders
As a team, Upstate leads the A-Sun in steals at 10.8 per game. The Spartans also rank in the top three in scoring (3rd, 69.7 ppg), free throw percentage (2nd, 72.7%), rebounding (2nd, 41.8 rpg) and assists (3rd, 13.6 apg). Individually, Chelsea McMillan tops the conference with 11.8 rebounds per outing and 2.0 blocked shots per game.